Posted: Monday, May 28, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Readers: Today is Memorial Day. Please remember those servicemen and women who have died serving their country. You can honor our fallen heroes by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of veterans. It is also customary to fly the flag at half-staff until noon.
Dear Annie: A few years ago, on Memorial Day, you printed the words to Taps. Very few people actually know the history of this melody.
Until the Civil War, there was a bugle call known as Lights Out or Extinguish Lights. The melody was a variation of a common military tune called a tattoo, and was written by Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott and first published in 1835. Union Gen. Daniel Butterfield, who could not read music, adapted the tune for his brigade in 1862 with the help of his brigade bugler, Oliver Norton. This adaptation became known as Taps.
Later that year, Capt. John C. Tidball started the custom of playing Taps at a military funeral. A corporal in his unit died, and Tidball wanted to bury him with full honors, which included a three-gun salute, but his request was denied due to the closeness of the enemy positions. Instead, he decided to play Butterfield’s version of Taps. The new bugle call quickly spread to other units, and it became a standard component of U.S. military funerals in 1891.
Butterfield died in 1901, and Taps was played at his funeral. No one knows who wrote the words, but I’d appreciate it if you could print them again. — New York History Buff
Dear History Buff: We would be honored to do so:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake, from the skies.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor, our God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.
Love, good night, must thou go,
When the day, and the night need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.
Fades the light; and afar,
Goeth day, and the stars shineth bright,
Fare thee well; day has gone,
Night is on.
Thanks and praise, for our days,
’Neath the sun, ’neath the stars, ’neath the sky,
As we go, this we know,
God is nigh.
Dear Annie: You often print letters from older folks who complain about young people, but here’s the flip side.
I have noticed at family gatherings that the older relatives tell horrifying stories about terrible things that happened, give a lot of detail about what physical ailments they or their friends are experiencing, or make comments that are racist or sexist, all of which my young daughters cannot help but hear.
I frequently find myself balancing the need to be polite and respectful, while wishing they would use a G-rated filter on their conversation. We have worked hard to raise our children with little gratuitous exposure to violence and discriminatory remarks. To have our efforts derailed by their own sweet grandmother telling a story of the awful family next door or their grandfather making sweeping derogatory comments about a particular ethnic group is very frustrating.
Please encourage your older readers to temper their stories and comments when young ones are around. — Sandwiched in Vermont
Dear Vermont: Thanks for the suggestion. Don’t be reluctant to tell Grandma and Grandpa that you’d appreciate it if they would be more circumspect around the little ones. They probably have no idea that you object — or why.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.28.12